Virtual School for Children in Care and Previously in Care

Our Mission: To improve the life opportunities for children in care and who were previously in care by supporting their education and enabling them to achieve the best they can.

What is the Virtual School?

Brighton & Hove’s Virtual School was established in 2011 to maximise the educational success of approximately 300 Children in Care. Since 2015 the Virtual School’s remit has been extended to include young people Previously in Care who now live in families through Adoption, Special Guardianship Orders or Residential Orders.

The school is ‘virtual’ in the sense that it is not a school that students actually attend – most go to school in Brighton & Hove, with some children attending school in other local authorities. The Virtual School works across early years settings, schools and colleges, mainly with children and young people aged 3 to 18.

The Virtual School has a team of committed professionals with a wide breadth of expertise and has been successful in improving outcomes for Children in Care. The Virtual School will now sustain and build on these improvements and extend them to include Children Previously in Care. Working with a range of partners we aim to further narrow the achievement gap which currently exists between this group of children/young people and their peers.

We work in partnership with children and young people themselves, with their parents and carers and with early years settings, schools, colleges, universities and social workers.

Why do we need a Virtual School?

Children in Care and Previously in Care can do very well in early years settings, school and college with the right support in place, despite the challenges they have faced.

However, we know that across the board there is a gap between the attainment of this group and their peers. We also know that doing well in education opens up greater opportunities as children grow up. It is vital that across Brighton & Hove the Virtual School works with all its partners to raise the profile of Children in Care and Previously in Care, helping to remove barriers to their education and ensuring everything is done so that they achieve the best they can.

At the Virtual School we work to ensure that all Children in Care and Previously in Care:

  • achieve educationally to their full potential
  • attend a school that best suits their needs
  • maintain a high level of attendance without school exclusions
  • enter employment, education or training when they leave school

What does the Virtual School do for Children in Care?

The Virtual School works with all Children in Care as if they were on one school roll. We track their attainment, attendance and exclusion and identify when and how best to support them if they are not making good progress.

The Virtual School will also put in place (or streamline) systems and structures and work strategically to ensure we meet our aim of every child on the Virtual School roll fulfilling their potential.

What does the Virtual School do for Children Previously in Care?

The Virtual School also supports the education of Children Previously in Care. We do not have the same statutory responsibilities, or rights to access information about day-to-day progress as we do for Children in Care. However, we can respond to direct requests for support from parents/carers or from schools for this group of children.

We recognise that the needs of children don’t change overnight when they leave the care system. They may now be living in a family through Adoption or with wider family or friends through a Special Guardianship Order or Residence Order and still need support to fulfill their potential. Therefore, we are also working to ensure that the systems and structures we have put in place for Children in Care are extended to include Children Previously in Care.

Information for early years, schools, colleges and social workers

Information for parents/carers

General Information